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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tucking shop

So schools in. l take the shrimp to her fancy school navigating between the ozone depletors. There is the usual display of latest IT bags from the summer holidays on yummish mummies and gadgets on alpha dads. Then she came in, perfect make up, perfect suit, perfect bag. She hisses at the class teacher, why have they cancelled the tuck shop? We live in Ikoyi and have to leave home at 6.30am, what do you expect my kids to eat for breakfast? All said in the most perfectly affected accent. The harassed teacher, without a hint of sarcasm says, fruits, and then they can eat a quick breakfast in school or in the car before school starts. What do mean fruits, they can't eat fruits in the morning, and they eat at the tuck shop. I looked at this smartly dressed woman and wonder what kind of breakfast can be available in a tuck shop? Then again l looked at the children and noticed that a number of them were either obese or on the first rung of the ladder.

This conversation goes on for a while with the teacher trying to juggle demanding children and even more demanding parents. I decide to come back and see her at a sane time. The school had cancelled the tuck shop because the children will not eat their packed lunch preferring the over sugared, over salted brilliantly advertized sawdust on sale in the tuck shop. Given the resources available to most of the kids, you can feed an average family for a week on what the kids spend at the shop. I had noticed last term that the shrimp had started coming home with her lunch half eaten or not eaten and her bag full of empty shiny wrappers of candy, chocolate, biscuits and crisps. I stopped giving her pocket money, l had always packed regular locally made snacks and drinks and fruits with her meals. The cancellation of the tuck shop was therefore welcome. That is until she came home yesterday after school and declares l don't like school anymore (emotional blackmail). Why darling l asked? Because you only give me one small biscuits and drink, why can't l have sprite and Pringles and crisps and gummy bears and waffles and mars, so and so and so all have them! All at once?
L'ekan na? (I've taken to speaking both Yoruba and English to her every time and everywhere) I asked in alarm, yes mama they do and you don't let me have what I want! I am so sad (pulling a face and rolling her eyes). I laugh, immune to her theatrics and emotional blackmail and proceed to explain why she can’t have most of it and to negotiate what she can have. As I did this I realized the tuck shop is not closed, it just relocated to the pantries at the homes of the children.

Guess I'll open mine too with homemade honey cookies, honeyed coconut balls, plantain chips, groundnuts (no not peanuts) and kulikuli along side fruits, Ghanaian chocolates and South African raisins


Suga Duchesse said...

now this is really lame of this ranting mama...what ever happened to a light early break fast,what is wrong with eating by 6? packed meals...preparing breakfast the night before? fruits!what is wrong with fruits????

Nonesuch said...

@ Suga Duchess Nothing wrong with fruits o but i guess the kids are not used to eating fruits.

Standard School breakfast for the boys is ready made cereal. They have in their lunch box a cooked meal, a drink, water, a biscuit or sandwich and no money.

Bedtime is also strictlty 7.45pm on a school nite so they are in bed and asleep by 8pm.They wake up bright and early and we have little or no tears getting ready.

Aijay said...

Hmm...so she'd rather her kids have an unhealthy 'breakfast' in the school's tuck shop. That's interesting.

cheetarah said...

Poshy shd move over joh,my niece and nephew go to school in Ebutta Metta and they live in Ajah, they have breakfast every morning b4 they leave which is by 6! Can some one help me say Unfit mother,lol! No but seriously why she play herself like that in public say she no dey cook breakfast:)

Anonymous said...

All I can say is its a case of noveau rich. here we are fighting for schools to stock vending machines with healthy snacks and abolish mcdonalds in school cafetarias. what is wrong with our people? what happened to eating quick breakfast and healthy snacks especially in naija where there are choices? whatever happened to eating cereal or oatmeal in the mornings.

Nnebaby said...

No, but seriously what else can a child have as breakfast if not cereal? One can alternate with toast or any other light food.

Funmi Iyanda said...

@ all, na me be this o, l thing regular nigerian made cereal (less sugar) or oats or akamu (the 3 varieties and they ppowder them now) are quick smart breakfast options with a glass of fruit juice sweetened with honey if they refuse. The cooked brekkie whether nigerian, american, british or continental is great for weekend but l think the lady was just posing.
meanwhile who is going to do a nigerian good children's nutrition guide and cookbook?

@nonesuch, how do you get your rugrats to bed by 7.45pm daily. my shrimp fights a holy war every nite before we get her into bed at 8 for 8.30pm.

Nonesuch said...

@ Funmi
It is WAR o my Sista. We have a whole ritual starting with kisses and singing and hugging and yelling and crying and begging at times and I have to lie down with them for a couple of minutes.The curtains are drawn and the light is off and we all close our eyes and no one is allowed to talk. its so funny at times I burst out laughing but they are not allowed out of bed.

Their nanny know they should eat and be in their Pjs before i get home but this holidays have wrecked us all.

God's child said...

Abeg I used to leave hosue by 6-6:30am and momsie made sure I had my breakfast in the morning. With her polished accent, I'm sure she can afford to wake up earlier or pay someone who will do that jare make we hear word

jjc girl said...

Sounds like the shrimp takes after her mama - fighting spirit!
Get the babies used to good, fresh, nutritious food early and you stand a chance of them not departing from it later. Same with regular, early bedtimes.
My question is: what kind of society makes it the norm for kids to have to leave home by 6am to get to school on time? We all know the traffic is horrendous, so put them in a local school, there are plenty of choices available.

adewunmi said...

@ Funmi - its neva too late to start. Put da Shrimp in bed and leave her there - if you can't help it get in with her. 1 week should do it.

And a lot less refined sugar.

@ Anonymous - Oatmeal and cereal more like yam and egg!!!! lol